WASHINGTON Congressman Max Rose chaired a Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism hearing on January 15, 2020, titled “Confronting the Rise in Anti-Semitic Domestic Terrorism.” Rose’s hearing focused on recent incidents of domestic terrorism motivated by anti-Semitism, including recent mass attacks in the New York City metro area, as well as the overall rise in anti-Semitic violence, underscored by recent Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) data showing that the number of anti-Semitic murders hit a 27-year high in 2018.
“The horrific rise in anti-Semitic domestic terrorism is an issue that has deeply affected my district, my community, and the whole New York City area,” said Rose, the first Jewish Member of Congress from Staten Island. “Jewish people have been coming to America since before it was even called America in order to freely practice their religion, escape persecution, and build a better life for their families. Yet now we are under assault by extremists, many of whom are emboldened to act and often encouraged by content on social media platforms. The time for thoughts and prayers has passed—the time now is for action.”
Testimony at today’s hearing focused on the factors driving the recent rise in anti-Semitic violence; the actions that federal, state, and local government officials are taking to address this rise—and what more needs to be done; and how Congress can help counter the rise in violence motivated by anti-Semitism.
“It is important to realize that these offensive incidents targeted at Orthodox Jewry are amplified and accelerated by the broader surge in anti-Semitism we are experiencing in the United States,” said Nathan Diament, Executive Director, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America in his opening statement. “It’s in this context—Orthodox Jews being explicitly slandered and Jews generally being subjected to classical anti-Semitic accusations—that visible, recognizable Jews are being targeted for assaults and abuse and suffering this reality in an unprecedented way in this great country. Mr. Chairman, I will conclude these opening remarks by saying that even in the face of all of this, I am not without hope. The fact that elected leaders from President Trump to Governor Cuomo and Governor Murphy and many others have not only spoken out against this surge of anti-Semitic and anti-Orthodox Jewish attacks—but undertaken concrete actions to have our federal, state and local governments begin to respond and begin to make our communities safer gives me hope. The fact that you—Congressman Rose and your colleagues—have convened this hearing to confront this problem and look for more effective ways we can stop it and roll it back gives me hope. And the fact that I, an Orthodox Jew, was able to join with people of many different faiths to serve on the DHS Advisory Committee chaired by General Allen and make recommendations for how our government can protect not only America’s synagogues but also our churches and mosques and temples—this too gives me hope.”
“Anti-Semitism manifests itself in many forms, from the well-organized group to the lone deluded individual, and everything in between,” said John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism, New York City Police Department (NYPD). “Anti-Semitism in all its forms, however, is steeped in ignorance and bred of muddled and incoherent conspiracy theories, and while this has been the case for quite some time, it is more easily spread and consumed these days because of social media. For these reasons, a lasting solution to bigotry and hatred will never be grounded solely on law enforcement and heightened security. That will only be achieved when every citizen works collectively to educate each other and to reinforce our shared values of tolerance and unity. New York City and the NYPD will continue to be at the forefront of this movement.”
Rose has been consistent in keeping his focus on addressing anti-Semitism and the threats faced by international and domestic terrorism. Last week, Rose gave a speech before the House of Representatives on the rising levels of anti-Semitic attacks and hate crimes across New York City. Rose helped lead a successful bipartisan effort to increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $90 million, a 50 percent increase, which provides critical support and protection for nonprofit and religious institutions like synagogues, churches, mosques, religious schools and community centers which have increasingly been targets of terrorism. Last summer, Rose hosted a grant workshop for nonprofit and religious institutions with government officials to assist religious and nonprofit institutions on security grant programs—and will host additional workshops in the coming weeks.
Included in the annual defense bill, which was recently signed into law, is an amended version of the Domestic and International Terrorism DATA Act, of which Rose was an original co-sponsor. The legislation will require the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to produce an annual report on domestic terror incidents and how the government is responding.
- Mr. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, ADL (Anti-Defamation League)
- Mr. Nathan Diament, Executive Director, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
- Mr. John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism, New York City Police Department
- Gen. John R. Allen, USMC, Ret., Co-Chair, Homeland Security Advisory Council Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Organizations; President, Brookings Institute
- Mr. Paul Goldenberg, Co-Chair, Homeland Security Advisory Council Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Organizations; Chairman and President, Cardinal Point Strategies
- Mr. Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School (minority witness)
- Mr. Clifford D. May, Founder and President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (minority witness)